Wise Words: Margaret Atwood

You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: There’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially, you’re on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.

Wise Words: Leslie Jamison

Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us – a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain – it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse.

Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. The act of choosing simply means we’ve committed ourselves to a set of behaviors greater than the sum of our individual inclinations: I will listen to his sadness, even when I am deep in my own.